Date published: 16 February 2010
Tesco has announced it is to close its Middleton distribution centre with the loss of 620 jobs. Tesco has said all the existing 620 staff at Middleton will be offered the opportunity to work at their new facility, however, the new distribution centre is in Widnes, Cheshire.
Tesco says the site at Middleton is 20 years old and provides no room for expansion. However, the number of stores the site services has grown considerably in this time and it can no longer meet current or future demands.
Reacting to the shocking news, Chairman of Middleton Township Councillor Peter Williams said: "It is of the greatest concern that jobs on this scale should be lost to the area. Middleton Councillors and local politicians are dismayed at the decision to close the Wincanton/Tesco depot at Stakehill with so little notice.
"The only crumb of comfort seems to be the offer of transfer of jobs to another North West location. Doubtless the practicalities of this will be weighing heavily on the minds of workers and their families, but perhaps not so much on the directors who have made their decision.
"Middleton Councillors will be lobbying as far as they can against this move to close. Secondly they will be seeking to ensure if minds cannot be changed that workers get all practical assistance from the company by way of relocation/travel packages from the company, and assistance from Council resources, where necessary, to support employees where retraining and re-employment are the only alternatives.
"Frankly, I am surprised not so much that the operation has outgrown Stakehill but that use of the Rochdale Kingsway Business Park, strategically straddling the M62, has not been considered or taken up."
In a public relations faux pas Juliette Bishop, Tesco Corporate Affairs Manager comments on the new site but makes no mention of the serious adverse affect on Middleton and staff who face losing their jobs, unless they travel to Widnes.
Ms Bishop said: “This new modern facility will allow us to greatly enhance the service to our stores and customers across the North West of England.”
“This site also offers access to alternative transport infrastructure; including port and rail which will allow us to explore future opportunities to help us further reduce freight travelling by road.”
The operation in Middleton will continue as normal until the new site is opened in July.